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  • Writer's pictureTroy Ericson

Leg 1 of Honeymoon

Just finished Leg 1 of our Honeymoon.

Figured I’d share where we went, what we did, my reviews of Hawaii, and some of the cool stuff that happened.

The day after our wedding, we had breakfast with our family, gave them most of our stuff, and headed to the airport.

If you’re like me, you get really excited about boarding a plane on vacation…

But a honeymoon is extra special because you can spend the flight reminiscing about your wedding day & opening cards from your friends & family.

I’ll share more about our wedding in the future.

First Stop: Maui.

It’s a 6-hour flight from San Diego.

And it felt like another 6 hours until we got our bags (island time is real lol).

But you forget all about it when you’re zooming down the island in a convertible (side note: really impressed with BMW, it was a LOT smoother ride than the Mustang we got last year on the Big Island).

Maui is sort of shaped like a bow-tie.

The east & west side are big & round. And the middle is thin. Our Airbnb was an apartment right in the middle-south bay with EPIC views of the ocean, waves, and mountains (see pics below).

There’s also something special about being 6 hours behind EST. It just feels like you’re living in your own world. 🏔🌊🌴

That night we cruised along the southwest coast right between the ocean & the mountains to a town called Lahaina.

We’re not vegan, but sometimes Julia has an itch for vegan food. I’m a bit skeptical… but this place was pretty much all fresh fruit & veggies from the island… And it was BOMB!

Then we walked around all the shops that sat right up on the water.

I’m pretty numb to shopping these days, but I’m still a sucker for a good art gallery & local affairs.

This spot was extra cool because a lot of the shops had a back patio on the ocean where you could see a bunch of other neighboring islands.

The stars were incredible on the drive back. You’re in the middle of the ocean, so there isn’t much light pollution to interrupt your view. 🌌

On Day 2, we drove the opposite way into the northeast side. I never set foot in grocery stores, but Julia loves visiting local ones whenever we visit somewhere new.

Not gonna lie, they’re wayyyy better & fresher & just… different than the mainland. Especially if you can find a fruit stand on the side of the road. 🥭🍍🍌

So we had a super Hawaiian breakfast & carried on the ‘Road to Hana’, which is a lot more tropical than the other side of the island.

It’s more of a winding road through a foresty area, but still right on the water. This is my favorite thing about Hawaii.

Just driving and exploring the most tropical coastal areas. 🌸

We stopped at the ‘Garden of Eden’ - a giant botanical garden, which is basically a super boujee park with exotic plants & rainbow eucalyptus trees.

It wasn’t as cool as the one we went to last year on the Big Island, but it had some epic ocean views, and we were so tired we took a 1 hour nap on top of the mountain with the view you see below.

And we met a few peacocks too (apparently they get weird around you if you have a black car - because they see their reflection & think it’s a mate).

We were going to head to the black sand beaches, but everything requires a “reservation” these days. Yes, even parks.

It doesn’t seem right to me, but oh well. More time for other stuff.

The way back was even better though because we’re big fans of waterfalls.

When we find one on the map, we park on the side of the road & hike to it.

Usually, they’re somewhat close to the road, and we’ll go swimming.

Then we’ll hike up the side and go as high & far as we can until we see a waterfall that’s too damn big to climb lol (also pictured below).

Then we went all the way down to Makena Beach, which was by FAR, the nicest area of Maui (southeast side).

It’s got all the resorts, golf courses, shops, etc.

We’re also suckers for having dinner at resorts because the food is solid & then you can walk around & explore the property without having to pay 3x the price of an airbnb.

You can take it all in in an hour and then go back to the freedom & privacy of your own place.

While we were there, we walked down to their beachfront and stargazed & talked about our future together.

The ocean was actually super intimidating at night.

You can’t see that much, but you hear the waves crashing a lot harder than they do on the mainland.

It’s a great reminder that you’re on a spec of land in the middle of the ocean.

On Day 3, we went back to Makena Beach & got an even better breakfast that had literally the freshest fruits & bowls I’ve ever had.

Then we walked the beach during the day, but this time in the middle of the bustling Makena area.

After that, we realized that our snorkeling trip was literally right next to our Airbnb.

We almost missed the boat because the harbor setup was confusing, and there were a ton of other tour boats.

But, it’s all good because we’re snorkeling snobs haha.

We try to snorkel every time we go to a new place.

The boat ride is super nice because you’re seeing the island from the water… a totally different perspective.

And when you get in the water & stare down at the reef, it’s still shocking how WEIRD the ocean is. It literally looks like an alien planet.

But we saw a whole bunch of different colorful & striped fish, eels, turtles, and my personal favorite… the rainbow fish (google it). 🤿🐟🐠

The best snorkeling we’ve ever done is at Cook’s Monument on the Big Island, but this was probably 2nd or 3rd (up there with Key West - if you’re in the right spot).

The coolest part was watching the guide throw a piece of bread in the water.

This ENTIRE SCHOOL of black fish with neon blue stripes were so freaking aggressive going after some bread.

So we grabbed our own bread from lunch & tossed it in for our own entertainment LOL.

They acted like pirañas. I didn’t think they’d eat bread since it’s not natural to them.

After we cleaned up (and somehow managed to not get sunburnt), we went to Mama’s Fish House, which was up north.

Best. Fish. Ever.

I had a local… Ono? Can’t remember.

And Julia had an Arctic Toothfish (lol) that was caught 6,000ft deep in Antarctica.

Oh, and we finally drank for the first time in a while.

But we’re really good at denying dessert. If you struggle with dessert, having a few naturally sweet carbs (like sweet potato) with dinner can do the trick.

The next day was our last day on Maui.

We checked out, hit a random gym (I can’t go more than a week without the gym), and then back to the same breakfast place, and hit the beaches one more time.

Then, on to O’ahu.

There’s something else cool about hopping on a new airline (Hawaiian).

And even cooler when it’s a short island hopper flight.

Thankfully we barely made the flight, we should’ve known that everything runs really slowly at island airports.

Once again, it took forever to get our bags after we arrived, but for the second time, Sixt rent-a-car was awesome.

It’s the first time I’ve had a GOOD & quick experience with rental cars (note how I used it twice before approving it lol).

Next Stop: O’ahu.

Then we headed over to Pearl Harbor.

Our GPS took us to the active military base entrance, and “cheery tourist Troy” got met with “no-nonsense armed guard”… So that was fun LOL.

But once we made it to the right spot, it was an amazing tribute & memorial to the men who gave their lives in Pearl Harbor.

Anytime I’m in a place like this, it’s eerie. And it makes me sad. But it was also a way to pay respect.

Especially when you’re visiting a place that’s technically an underwater gravesite. 3 ships are still underwater. And hundreds of bodies are still trapped in those ships.

It’s weird to look down into the water and watch fish innocently eating off the ship’s rusted remains, which has now become a reef for them.

I said a prayer in my head thanking the 3,500 names that gave their lives that day.

But I did learn that of the 21 ships damaged, 18 of them were repaired (including the ones that sunk… WOW)… And… get this…

One of those ships… the USS Missouri… was one of the first ships sunk by the Japanese, which forced us into war with Japan…

Well, turns out we un-sunk that ship, re-commissioned it, and took it to Japan, where we forced them to sign the surrender treaty onboard the very ship that they sank to start WWII.

Read that again: Japan was forced to surrender on the very ship that they sunk to start World War II.

That’s badass. 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

Next, we wanted to try another Vegan place, this time it was way more authentic… and we got food poisoning.

So that wasn’t cool, but sometimes, it’s part of the game.

The views from our new airbnb in Waikiki Beach (see yesterday’s post) were SO cool.

Downtown Honolulu was kind of old & not-so-sexy…

But the eastern part is way nicer & trendier than most US mainland cities.

We really really loved it. Not only was the view epic, but there’s a HUGE strip of shops & restaurants right on the water.

It has to be at least a mile long.

The next day we got up & went for a looooong walk in the other direction into the boujee-est Hawaiian neighborhood that was in-between a massive volcanic crater & the ocean.

I mean, again, this neighborhood was WAY nicer than most gated communities in the mainland US.

When we got back, we headed off on our favorite activity that I mentioned earlier… Driving the island.

We went east & realized that Honolulu is actually pretty massive.

The east side is wayyy nicer than the west side, and we headed past all the houses onto another coastal road full of sea cliffs, beaches, massive waves, and even a blowhole that shoots water 30ft into the air.

Our favorite stop though was a lighthouse trail on the northeast corner of the island.

I shared this in my post 2 days ago, but it was by FAR, the most beautiful place I’ve EVER been.

There are incredible mountains, volcanoes, islands, waves… everything you could imagine.

And the light blue water, dark blue water, green mountains, black lava rocks, and even the manmade lighthouse as a cherry on top.

Definitely check out the post. I’ll never forget this place (although, ironically, I’m not sure what it’s called lol).

Then we just kept driving & discovered a pretty normal looking town where we stopped for lunch, shopping, and a beach walk.

Surprisingly, this place looked like California with the hills & neighborhood.

It did NOT give me Hawaii vibes until we got to the beach, and that’s only because the islands don’t look like Cali.

On the way back, we cut through the mountains, but didn’t visit the next waterfall overlook because it started to rain.

We decided to walk through the area by our Airbnb again because it’s SO dang beautiful. Hard to beat a Waikiki Beach sunset. 🌅

In the morning, we hit the gym again & hiked Diamond Head Crater as our final activity. The top blew off this thing a bajillion years ago, and now it’s a state park that you can drive into and then hike to the top.

WELL worth it (pics below), and you can get up & back in 45min if you’re in good shape. 🌋

(In summary, I think I still like the Big Island best because it’s so natural & wild & has so much to do… While O’ahu is a VERY close second. And Maui is last.)

Then, we headed to the airport.

Again, painfully slow.

But thankfully we showed up early.

Pretty much everything went wrong.

But if you’re still with me, the reason I had time to type this during our honeymoon is because we were on a 5 hour flight to get to Leg 2…

And of course Hawaiian airlines has no wifi, among many other problems haha.

Anyway, re-reading this, I realize how blessed I am to have a loving wife.

And epic experiences.

And cool people (that’s you) to share our adventures with.

And for all your support to make this possible.

I’m also thankful for my team.

Because I haven’t been able to do much work during this time, and frankly, we’ve built a system that doesn’t rely on any single person to do all the work.

It feels SO WEIRD to have days where I only work for 15 min.

But again, I’m thankful.

Can anyone guess where Leg 2 is?

I’ll share bits & pieces this week, but I’ll give ya the full update in a week when we head to Leg 3.

Much love,

Troy & Julia

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